MARION, AR (WMC) - A new animal cruelty threat is making the rounds across the country.
With 'trunk fighting' on the rise, animal control officers are warning pet owners to protect their animals.
"When you have a dog fighting ring and it has to be a certain location," said Becky Blundell with Marion Animal Control. "It's hidden. It's private."
But Blundell added that dog fighters are changing their typical way of operating.
"They're getting caught that way," Blundell explained. "So, what they're doing now is, you place your bet, they load the dogs into the vehicle, and it's like a working ring."
Dog fighters are kidnapping pets as bait, then using them for training. They force the dogs into trunks of cars to fight.
Blundell says it's happening all over the U.S., and her team recently learned what to look for when tracking these criminals.
"They just drive around, and then when the noise stops they open up the trunk and see who won," Blundell said.
Though Marion police say they haven't seen a report of this kind of dog fighting in their area, animal control officers say pet owners should keep a close eye on their pets to make sure they aren't stolen to be used in this vicious crime.